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Table 2 Member organisations’ views on essential skills of spiritual care workers

From: Challenges and opportunities for spiritual care practice in hospices in a middle-income country

Essential Skills of an Effective Spiritual Care Worker
Hard Skillsa Soft Skillsb
A sound understanding of palliative care, the context of palliative care in SA and its practice. (n = 32) Strong counselling skills (n = 38)
Being able to communicate in at least 2 of the official languages in SA. (n = 29) High levels of self-awareness, including insight into one’s own spirituality and tolerance for diversity (n = 31)
Knowledge and understanding of the integration of palliative care and spiritual issues in hospices and in SA. (n = 29) High levels of acceptance, non-judgmental, and open mindedness. (n = 28)
Knowledge of patient rights and being able to clearly identify the needs of the patient. (n = 27) The ability to develop a plan for personal, spiritual and professional growth, self-awareness and self-understanding. (n = 28)
Having knowledge of and insight into other cultures and religions and being sensitive when dealing with differences and diversity. (n = 27) Maintains a well-articulated awareness of one’s own understanding of spirituality, religion, spiritual health and how to offer spiritual health care in a diverse clinical setting. (n = 28)
Knowledge of the medical sector, including professional hierarchies as well as detailed knowledge of the common terminal illnesses patients presents with and consequently being able to understand and respond appropriately to the impact those different illnesses have on the patient. (n = 21) High levels of compassion, motivation, passion and enthusiasm for palliative care. (n = 23)
  1. aHard skills are teachable and measurable abilities, such as writing, reading, using computer programmes
  2. bSoft skills are the traits that make a good team member, such as etiquette, communication and listening